Neuroscience and the Link Between Inspirational Leadership and Resonant Relationships
Ivey Business Journal
Every leader needs to have smooth, productive relationships with those around him or her. But what makes for a rewarding relationship — and its opposite — has long been unclear. Boyatzis, who has conducted studies and written extensively about the impact of brain activity on such relationships, describes some important new research that holds the promise of helping leaders to form more effective relationships. In one study, executives underwent functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) and were asked questions about past work events involving both resonant and dissonant leaders; recalling events with resonant leaders activated brain pathways linked to openness and learning, while recalling events with dissonant leaders had an almost opposite effect. In another study, sophomores were interviewed first about their ideal future and then about their current homework and work ethic; the latter questions activated parts of the brain associated with guilt and self-consciousness, calling into question the efficacy of traditional performance management reviews.
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